x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Thailand jails Iran pair over botched Bangkok bombings

Two Iranians were sentenced to between 15 years and life today for their parts in a botched bomb plot last year in Bangkok that ended with one of them having his legs blown off.

Saeed Moradi, 29, left, and Mohammed Khazaei, 43, were jailed in Thailand today. Moradi had his legs blown off in his failed bomb plot in Bangkok.
Saeed Moradi, 29, left, and Mohammed Khazaei, 43, were jailed in Thailand today. Moradi had his legs blown off in his failed bomb plot in Bangkok.

BANGKOK // Two Iranian men were sentenced to between 15 years and life today for their parts in a botched bomb plot last year in Bangkok that ended with one of them having his legs blown off.

Saeed Moradi, 29, who lost his limbs as he hurled an explosive device at police, was found guilty on charges including attempted murder and handed a life term by the Bangkok Southern Criminal court.

A judge said the court found him "guilty of carrying explosives in public, using explosives to attempt to kill officials and using explosives which caused the destruction of property."

"Because attempted murder displays serious intent the court sentenced him to life in prison," he added.

A second defendant, Mohammad Khazaei, 43, was given a 15-year jail term for possession of explosives.

The pair, who had denied the charges, were among five Iranians suspected of involvement in the blasts that followed attacks in India and Georgia targeting Israeli diplomats.

A huge explosion tore the roof off a house in suburban Bangkok on February 14 last year, when bombs detonated apparently accidentally, sending the five men fleeing into the streets.

Prosecutors accused Moradi of hurling one bomb at a taxi and a second at two police officers as they approached him on the street, but it instead detonated near him.

The court heard that Khazaei ran out of the house after the first explosion and headed to the airport where police arrested him at the boarding gate.

Israel accused Tehran of waging a terror campaign over the Bangkok bomb plot.

"This sentence proves once again that Iran is engaged and in proliferation of terror all around the world," Israeli ambassador Simon Roded told reporters after attending the court hearing.

He thanked the Thai government for its response to the blasts.

"I hope that other countries will join Thailand in fighting this terror and bringing terrorists to justice," said the diplomat, who was flanked by bodyguards as he watched proceedings.

Moradi, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, had argued in his defence that he had accidentally found bombs in the Bangkok property and was trying to dispose of them safely when they detonated.

The court also found him guilty of possession of explosives.

The pair, who arrived at court in prison clothes, were also handed financial penalties over the incident, including two million baht (about Dh48,000) compensation payment for the damage to the Bangkok house.

They appeared subdued as they heard the sentencing.

One man is in custody in Malaysia, where he fled after the Bangkok explosions, and is fighting extradition to Thailand.

Two other suspects are believed to have returned to Iran.